10/04/11 — Shriners ready to start frying for the children

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Shriners ready to start frying for the children

By Steve Herring
Published in News on October 4, 2011 1:46 PM

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News-Argus file photo

Members of the Wayne County Shrine Club prepare fish for frying at last fall's fundraiser at Herman Park. The club is sponsoring its annual fish fry this Friday to raise money for the children's hospitals it supports.

Wayne County Shriner George Raecher was selling tickets to this Friday's annual fish fry when a woman stopped and said she and her husband would not be able to attend the fundraiser.

"But she and her husband were more than gracious," Raecher said. "Her daughter was born with spina bifida and the daughter is 20-some-years-old now. She said, 'We always make a contribution to the Shriners' Hospitals.' The lady started to get teared up about it, that if the Shriners' Hospital had not helped her daughter there was no telling what her life would be like today."

The Shriners raised $20,000 at last October's fish fry, with all the money going to the hospitals. Raecher said the group is hoping to top that amount this year.

"Wayne County citizens really make our fish fry," Raecher said. "It's not us just us making fish to sell. It's the citizens of Wayne County. It's the businesses. A whole bunch of people help us with this advertisement and buying those dinners that day."

The fish fry will be held at two locations. Plates can be eaten at Herman Park Center or patrons can just drive through the park and pick up their meals to go. In Mount Olive, plates can be picked up next to Wyatt Roberts' Machine Shop on N.C. 55 West. Meals will be served from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. and again from 4 to 7 p.m.

The cost of a meal is $7.

Along with promoting the fundraiser, Shriners also want to increase the public's awareness of the hospitals and the free medical treatment provided to all children up to age 18. Currently about 30 Wayne County children are being treated at the hospitals.

"I think the youngest child we have treated here was an infant when we started treating," Raecher said. "She is now in a walking device that she can motor around in and gets around excellent. It is just a miracle what Shriners' Hospitals can do for people."

The Shriners' Hospital in Greenville, S.C., provided outpatient care to more than 12,000 patients in 2010, Raecher noted. More than 4,000 young people received occupational therapy and there were just over 1,800 new applications, he said.

"What is really interesting is this new publication the Shriners' Hospitals put out," Raecher said. "They have some research advisory members comprised of all of these 24 doctors from all over the United States serve on that advisory council for the Shriners' Hospitals. So it is not just a bunch of doctors at the Shriners' Hospitals doing all the work to see what they can do to fix it. There are people in here from Michigan, Harvard, University of Rochester, Tennessee, University of North Carolina. There are a bunch of orthopedic doctors who do their internship with the Shriners' Hospitals learning the new techniques and procedures.

"I guess the biggest patient care is in the orthopedic for limbs and children who need prosthetics -- children who need legs and arms. We have several children here in Wayne County who have had the prosthetic devices fitted for them and changed. Spinal cord injury care is increasing, too."

Tom Ferrell and Raecher are the patient coordinators for the Wayne Shrine Club.

For more information about the hospitals, families are urged to contact Raecher at 394-3379 or Ferrell at 223-2301 or at work at 658-2971.